A guide to measuring advocacy and policy

This guide, written by Jane Reisman, Anne Gienapp and Sarah Stachowiak for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, provides strategies for measuring and evaluating the impact of advocacy and public policy grant making. The guide provides a framework for outcomes associated with advocacy and policy work and also gives advice for designing the evaluation. 

A handbook of data collection tools is a companion to this guide and provides a range of tools and processes that can be used to gather data about policy and advocacy initiatives. 


"This guide provides some perspective on where the field of philanthropy has been with regard to evaluation of advocacy and policy and also acknowledges the unique issues and challenges associated with measuring these efforts. In addition, this guide serves as an invitation to grantmakers to engage in and expand thinking about evaluation as it relates to advocacy and policy efforts. As seriously as many grantmakers take their investments in this area, foundations should also take seriously the need to advance evaluation of advocacy and policy work. Grantmakers are invited to engage in the discussion about how best to approach measurement in this area, what can be learned from evaluation efforts and how learnings might be applied. With broad engagement in this discussion, we can identify language, agree on approaches, and ultimately accept and adopt standards of practice so that evaluation can be used strategically to strengthen advocacy and policy efforts." (Reisman, Gienapp & Stachowiak, 2007)


  • Section 1: Context of Measuring Advocacy and Policy Change Efforts 6
    • Measuring Advocacy and Policy Change Efforts: A New Evaluation Perspective 6
    • Advocacy and Policy Work: Evaluation Challenges 6
    • Lack of Practical Guidance  6
    • Differing Perspectives on the Role of Evaluation 7
    • Methodological Challenges 7
    • Identification of Outcomes  8
    • Differences Among Foundations 9
    • Benefits of Evaluation 9
  • Section 2: Designing Appropriate Evaluation 11
    • Start with a Theory of Change  11
    • Identify Your Outcome Categories 16
    • Select a Practical and Strategic Approach to Measurement  23
    • Practical Approaches to Measurement  23
    • Options for Evaluation Plans 27


Reisman,J., Gienapp, A., & Stachowiak, S., (2007). A guide to measuring advocacy and policy, Annie E. Casey Foundation. Retrieved from: http://www.aecf.org/resources/a-guide-to-measuring-advocacy-and-policy/